Microsoft CEO's bonus trimmed

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer holds the new Surface as it is unveiled in Los Angeles, California, in...

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer holds the new Surface as it is unveiled in Los Angeles, California, in this June 18, 2012 file photograph. (Reuters/DAVID MCNEW/Files)

BILL RIGBY, Reuters

, Last Updated: 7:15 PM ET

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer got a lower bonus than last year's, partly for flat sales of Windows and his failure to ensure that the company provided a choice of browser to some European customers.

Ballmer, who took over as CEO from co-founder Bill Gates in 2000, earned a bonus of $620,000 for Microsoft's 2012 fiscal year, which ended in June, down 9 percent from the year before, according to documents filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

His salary -- low by U.S. corporate standards -- remained essentially flat at $685,000.

It is the third year in a row that Ballmer has not earned his maximum bonus, set at twice his salary.

Microsoft's recent financial year was scarred by a massive $6.2 billion write-down for a failed acquisition and lower profit from its flagship Windows system as computer sales stood still

In the company's filing, Microsoft's compensation committee said it took into account a 3 percent decline in Windows sales over the year, as well as "the Windows division failure to provide a browser choice screen on certain Windows PCs in Europe as required by its 2009 commitment with the European Commission."

The company's failure to provide a browser choice in Europe was an embarrassing setback for the software maker, which has been embroiled in disputes with European regulators for more than a decade and paid more than $1 billion in fines for including its own Internet Explorer browser on Windows. It now faces further fines from a new investigation.


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